Meet Jon Gay: CEO of JAG in Detroit Podcasts
Jon Gay is the owner and CEO of JAG in Detroit Podcasts, where he helps clients create high quality podcasts from their office or home without traveling or purchasing studio time. He is also the host of his own podcast, The Jag Show, which delves into industry trends and how they relate to everyday podcasters. Furthermore, Jon has been working on a passion project, WJPZ at 50, which chronicles the fifty-year history of Syracuse University’s student-run radio station and includes interviews with alumni from the 1970s to the 2020s.
After a fifteen-year career in radio, Jon felt that he needed to re-invent himself. He learned a great deal about the podcast industry and enjoyed creating and editing audio, as well as coaching talent on how to improve their delivery and listener engagement. This led him to start his own podcasts and company.
In his Podcast Movement 2023 recap podcast episode, Jon emphasized that even though audio goes where video can’t, video can still enhance podcasts by giving podcasters more touchpoints and opportunities to connect with their audiences. He encouraged podcast creators to shoot video content during recordings of podcast episodes, put Audiograms on YouTube or socials, or record short episode recaps or teasers.
In search of a monetization platform, Jon joined Simplecast in February 2022. Jon utilized Simplecast’s campaign management tool, which allows podcast publishers to dynamically deliver ads and host-read content, or back-catalog promotions to first-time listeners, on WJPZ at 50 to insert mid-rolls promoting ticket sales to the radio station’s fiftieth birthday reunion. As ticket prices changed, so did the ads in all previous episodes. This celebration drew in record attendance, and the podcast recently eclipsed 10,000 downloads.
Insights into the Podcasting Industry
Jon Gay provided valuable insights into the podcasting industry, emphasizing that while podcasting is not a “get rich quick” scheme, there are various ways to monetize a podcast. Even if podcasters don't have high download numbers to attract major advertisers, they can connect with smaller advertisers within their podcast's niche. Jon also highlighted underwriting as a revenue strategy, citing examples of non-profit clients whose shows are underwritten and sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, he works with financial advisors whose podcasts offer actionable financial advice and include brief mentions of their practice at the end, serving as a lead generation tool.
Host-Read Ads for a Personal Touch
Jon Gay favors host-read ads due to the intimate nature of audio. Listeners accept ads as part of the deal for accessing free content, but poor audio quality, unengaging reads, or stale copy can prompt them to skip the ads. Jon emphasizes that ad content is still content, and with host-read ads, podcast listeners feel more connected to their favorite hosts, especially when the tone and style of the ads match that of the show.
Advice for Aspiring Podcasters
Reflecting on what he would tell the podcasting industry three years ago, Jon Gay stressed the importance of content creation and consumption, especially during the early days of the COVID pandemic. He encouraged aspiring podcasters to use their newfound time at home to explore and find their unique content style. The industry's exponential growth offers opportunities to connect with other content creators. Jon also recommended investing in a dynamic microphone to capture more of one's voice and less background noise, particularly for those with less-than-ideal recording setups.
Business Goals for 2023
Looking ahead to the rest of 2023, Jon Gay has set ambitious business goals. He plans to spend more time in the corporate space, particularly in internal communications. Large companies are increasingly seeking ways to engage with their employees and customers, and Jon believes that podcasts are an underrated and effective method for achieving this goal.
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